Category Archives: in the penny press

Fleeting Frustration in the Penny Press!

Some days in the Penny Press are more frustrating than others, of course, and sometimes those weeks offer clear signals of their intent to get my knickers in a twist. This happened just yesterday, in fact, when I took my first clear look at Barry Blitt’s imbecilic cover to the 26 January New Yorker, which […]

Pulps in the Penny Press!

Naturally, reading Louis Menand’s story in the January 5 New Yorker, “Pulp’s Big Moment,” sent me irresistably to my own bookshelves, specifically to the bookcases of mass-market paperbacks I’ve been ruthlessly pillaging lately (as I’ve aggrievedly mentioned already, nobody needs four different mass market paperback copies of Mansfield Park; the ability to resist the urge […]

Yesterday’s News in the Penny Press!

Beginning any new year always means batting clean-up on the odds and ends of the old year, and this latest transition was no different: I wrapped up my annals of the Penny Press in mid-December, but the Penny Press didn’t know that – it kept pouring into the sainted Open Letters Monthly Post Office box […]

More agita in the Penny Press!

I fully expected to go back to happily making Stevereads entries about William Ellery Channing and Ellen Sturgis Hooper, to wile away my next 1000 entries writing about dogs, Kennedys, and Taylor Lautner, but then the cover of the latest Weekly Standard caught my eye. It’s a classic Thomas Fluharty masterpiece, showing a team of […]

Nasty Fellows in the Penny Press!

The prospect of a new London Review of Books leading off with a luxuriously long review of Stephen Mitchell’s new translation of Homer’s Iliad filled me with passionate expectation (‘expectation’ because my subscription’s copy was its customary week late, sigh). It’s the sort of gloriously nerdy thing the LRB can be relied upon to do; […]

Superdogs in the Penny Press!

Once you hold your nose and get past Bruce McCall’s predictable, boring cover for the 27 Feb New Yorker, you have a genuine treat waiting for you inside: a great article called “Beware of the Dogs” by somebody writing under the pseudonym of “Burkhard Bilger” (in anticipation of the tsunami of innuendo I’m sure is […]

Two-for-one deals in the Penny Press!

One of the most tempting tricks in the craft of professional book-reviewing is the ‘cattle call’ round-up review, where either a lazy review editor or a vainglorious reviewer see two or three or even more books published roughly simultaneously on roughly the same subject and experience the same little light-bulb of an idea: Hey! Why […]

Glad of the Lad Mags in the Penny Press!

My acquaintances frequently wonder about my long-standing affection for ‘lad mags’ – burly, testosterone-fuelled items like Outside or Men’s Journal or even the nearly-brainless Details (not to be confused with Maxim, which actually is brainless, one of the only magazines I know that’s actually content-free), and perhaps there’s some snickering about obvious answers. But no: […]

Right and Wrong (and a little comfort) in the Penny Press!

Ordinarily, the running disagreements I have with the Penny Press are matters of degree, of shading, and they’re conducted sotto voce over a heaping plate of food in the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant I frequent solely for the purpose of keeping up with all my periodicals. It’s rare that these disagreements aren’t essentially pleasant things, the […]

mistakes, exaggerations, and outright lies in the Penny Press!

A particular contentious day in the Penny Press today, as the cold rain drizzled down outside my favorite little Chinese food restaurant! For ever stretch in which I was just enjoying what I was reading, there was a stretch of rumpled macadam, attracting muttered grumbling and aggravated underlining with my trusty ever-present pen. Of course, […]


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